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Portland is the largest city in Oregon, about 60 miles inland from the Pacific in the US Pacific Northwest. The region’s milder, wetter climate provides the perfect weather for the lush roses that blanket the city’s gardens (hence the nickname, “City of Roses”) as well as fuel for its laid-back culture that emphasis on an appreciation of the outdoors. Locals love to play, from skateboarding and hiking to biking and paddleboarding. Downtown, visitors find breweries and gastropubs, local restaurants and shops, theaters and museums—everything needed for a well-rounded adventure.
Reasons to Visit Portland
Portland Japanese Garden: Spread across nearly six acres, these five gardens offer an authentic design that promotes harmony and peace. Kids enjoy the scavenger hunt worksheet while adults take peaceful walks over the Moon Bridge and meditate by the intricately raked Zen gardens. Daily tours are available.
The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother: Known as The Grotto, this Roman Catholic sanctuary offers regularly scheduled masses and is about six miles northeast of downtown. It spans more than 60 acres on an 110-foot cliff, where you’ll be treated to views of the city and mountains. In the upper-level gardens, you can stop and reflect in the meditation chapel or sit in the fragrant rose garden.
Pittock Mansion: Pittock Mansion is less than three miles west of downtown Portland, with sweeping views of the city from its location on 46 acres in Washington Park. The mansion is a 1914 French chateau built in the Renaissance style for Henry Pittock, the owner of The Oregonian newspaper. Guided tours of the mansion are available daily, and you can settle down in the luxuriant gardens for an afternoon picnic.
Museums: Portland isn't just a hip city; it's a historic and cultural hub. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry displays fossils from the Gobi Desert, along with planetarium shows and tours of a real submarine. The Portland Art Museum features Native American and Asian art, along with silverware exhibitions, paintings and sculptures. The Oregon Maritime Museum is housed inside The Portland, a steam-powered sternwheel tugboat docked at the port, and displays artifacts and the history of the working river in the Portland/Vancouver region.
The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall: This venue is affectionately known to locals as "The Schnitz" and is located in a building that dates back to 1928. The concert hall plays host to musical theater productions, magicians and lectures along with vocal and instrumental concerts. Seating more than 2,775 concertgoers, this concert hall has welcomed numerous A-list entertainers, including Prince and Bob Dylan.
The Voodoo You Do So Well: Portland is known for its microbreweries and specialty coffee. But a person's gotta have some sustenance too. It's a vegetarian-friendly city, so why not munch on a pear and brie sandwich or a green curry bowl with kale and tofu hash at the Blossoming Lotus? If greens aren't your thing, bliss out on a maple bacon doughnut at Voodoo Doughnut. There's almost always a wait, but the kitschy decor provides you free entertainment.
When to Visit Portland
Spring and fall in Portland bring comfortable temperatures ranging from the 50s to the 70s. Book a Portland hotel during the spring to enjoy the vibrant show of freshly bloomed roses and the Rose Festival in May and June.
While winter is the rainiest season in the city, it’s the best time to enjoy travel savings and museums without lines. Or, you can strap on your skis and race through the powder at nearby Mount Hood.
Summer issues in drier, warmer days that are great for checking out the Oregon Brewers Festival in July and music and food fests in late summer.
Portland Travel Tip
Getting back to nature is easy in Portland. Leave your Portland Country Inns & Suites hotel and take a 20-minute drive from downtown Portland to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, home to dozens of waterfalls and more than 100 hiking trails for hikers of all experience levels.